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Light weight coins - How low will you go?


The_Collector
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Hey everyone, 

I know weight with silver coins is a serious issue. It is one of the first ways to tell if a coin is not real. But, coins in ancient times were perhaps not as accurate in weight as coins are today. Along with wear, the weight seems like it can vary. Which leads me to my question, how low (or high) will you all go compared to a standard example coin? 
 

 

At the risk of looking like a complete fool for buying it I’ll share a coin I just got recently and weighed….it came out at a troubling 1.95 grams. 
Please share some of your knowledge, thoughts, and of course some coins who’s weight scared you haha! And as always thank you for reading!! 

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....yeah, we usually go by weight, but there's a lot of authentic ancient coins that are under weight, such as yours, for one reason or another.  i have 2 Divus Antonius Pius coins, one which i just got today, and they're both underweight....and i have a worn Geta denarius that weighs about what your coin does of his bro...:)

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At one time I owned this coin 

Hadrian Ar Denarius Antioch Obv Bust right laureate draped and cuirassed Rv Trajan and Hadrian standing facing shaking hands RIC- 2.49 gms 17.5 mm Photo CNG E Auction 405 Lot 452 Sept 6 2017

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This coin at 2.49 is quite a bit lighter than either the contemporary Rome mint coins Average 3.21 grms and even those from Antioch average 3.03 grms All Data from Walker THIS IS NO LONGER MY COIN

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1 hour ago, Kali said:

Severan era coins frequently can be found very underweight, so that isn't a shock. I've had Maesa & Mamaea coins as low as 1.4g.

I have a Macrinus that's under 2 grams.

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Thank you everyone for you responses and examples of underweight coins! What do you all do when you are looking at an underweight coins to make sure its the real deal? I just remember that that is one of the biggest giveaways aside from an obvious seem or casting marks. @kapphnwn That's a really cool coins its one on my list! Did you replace it? Or was it just not what you were after?

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In response to @The_Collector No it is a type that I do find interesting and I would love to find one for my collection but I decided to dispose of this particular coin as it simply did not meet my standards anymore. At the time I had something like 3400 Greek and Roman coins and I decided to reduce the collection to about 600.

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I'd agree with other posters - that new denarius looks fine to me, @The_Collector - as others have noted, Severan-era denarii can run quite light.  

That being said, when it comes to Roman Republican denarii, I tend to be more demanding when it comes to weights - at least 3.5 grams unless there's a tremendous amount of wear, giant hole, etc.  

And at the risk of looking like a complete fool, here is a purchase I made this summer off eBay.   I love bargains, and for the most part, poorly-photographed, poorly-described ancients work out pretty well for me - I've picked up many coins this way that otherwise would not be within my budget.  But sometimes not! 😒

Seller's photos - looks promising, I thought (blurry feeds into to my eBay coin fantasies!): 

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My photos after I got it - hmm, still not too bad (but note weird plating-effect along the edges): 

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My photo, on a scale.  Nope.  These just do not weigh this low, at least that I've ever seen.  The odd plating look to it sealed its fate for me, although it is not an obviously pressed fake, I suppose it is a cast (and a fairly well-done one at that; the edges looked okay).  Why the counterfeiter didn't just use fine silver and get the weight up puzzles me - it would've fooled me.  Seller accepted the return, so no harm done beyond the hassle:  

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Here's one I'm still not absolutely convinced is a RR fake - but at 3.00 grams it is too light for this issue (my photos screwed up the color; it is very silvery in color both sides, as if cleaned).  And yet, it looks struck, not fourree.  Maybe those are casting bubbles on the reverse, but it sure doesn't look cast on the edges.  The flan is thicker on one end than the other, like many hammered coins have.  I don't know.  Probably fake, but somebody went to a lot of trouble making it (and making it with such an off-center reverse).  The seller had provided the weight in his auction description, so I knew it was iffy when I bought it, so I kept it.   

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The edges look okay to me:  

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Here it is - top row left - with the other Censorinus "Marsyas" types in my scruffy collection.  To me it does not scream "Obvious Fake"!  But it is too light - even that very, very worn example top right is 3.36 grams (my avatar)- over the years I have trolled acsearch looking for other light Marsyas issues sold in legit auctions, and I have found about a half dozen or so that hover around 3 grams...so maybe it is okay.  

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I have a few light-weight Flavians that also puzzle me (weight controls were supposedly pretty tight during that period, but I notice that quite a few of them run lighter than wear accounts for).  But by Marcus Aurelius-Commodus, denarius weights go all over the place, in my experience.  

 

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I do have this light weight Commodus at 1.91 grams.

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Commodus AR Denarius.Rome mint 186 AD 1.91gr 17mm Obverse-M COMM ANT P FEL AVG BRIT, laureate head right Reverse- P M TR P XI IMP VII COS V PP, Concordia standing front, head left, holding standard in each hand.CONC MIL (below) RIC#126, Cohen 53, 8 spec. in Reka Devnia hoard.

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13 hours ago, kapphnwn said:

In response to @The_Collector No it is a type that I do find interesting and I would love to find one for my collection but I decided to dispose of this particular coin as it simply did not meet my standards anymore. At the time I had something like 3400 Greek and Roman coins and I decided to reduce the collection to about 600.

3,400 coins!!!!! Impressive 

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